Why Does Game Testing Matter?

Have you ever been battling a final boss, and suddenly, your character falls through the floor? Or have you tried to decipher a confusing menu system that makes you feel like throwing your controller across the room? These are the kinds of issues where game testing becomes crucial. But what exactly is game testing, and why is it so important? Game testing is the process of meticulously evaluating a video game to identify and eliminate bugs, glitches, and other issues that could hinder a player’s experience. Thorough game testing is crucial for everyone involved. Here’s how: Building a Strong Reputation A bug-free game is not just about player satisfaction; it’s also a testament to a developer’s commitment to quality. A strong reputation built on delivering exceptional games attracts players, investors, and partners, paving the way for future success. Balanced Gameplay Game testings can uncover balancing issues, ensuring that no weapon, character, or strategy is overpowered, leading to a smoother and more enjoyable gameplay experience. Great Investments A well-tested game ensures player satisfaction, the key ingredient for a successful game launch. Happy players translate to positive reviews and strong revenue streams. Beyond Bugs: What Testers Look For Motivation and Usability Testing Testers assess the user interface (UI)’s intuitiveness, ease of learning the controls, and clarity of the game’s instructions. They ensure a smooth and frustration-free gameplay experience. Story and Dialogue In some cases, testers might also provide feedback on the game’s narrative flow, dialogue quality, and overall pacing. They identify inconsistencies, plot holes, or awkward phrasing that might affect the player’s immersion. Level Design and Balance Testers play through levels to assess difficulty, fairness, and overall flow. They ensure the game offers a satisfying challenge without feeling frustrating or overwhelming. Game Testing Phases Game testing typically goes through several phases, each with a distinct purpose: Alpha Testing Alpha testing occurs after the game’s core mechanics and features are taking shape but before it’s feature-complete. Players identify bugs that disrupt gameplay flow, pinpoint balance issues between different mechanics or features, and ensure everything works cohesively. The game visuals might still have placeholders, and overall polish might be lacking. Beta Testing Beta testing is the final major hurdle before a game’s release. In Beta testing, players test the game in a near-final state, uncovering bugs that might arise due to the wider variety of player hardware and playstyles. Beta testers also provide invaluable feedback on overall game balance, enjoyment factor, and the user interface’s intuitiveness. The game at this stage should be feature-complete, visually polished, and relatively stable. Beta testing helps ensure a smooth launch experience for the general public. Pre-Alpha Testing In some cases, the developer team might do pre-alpha testing. Pre-alpha testing is the earliest stage of testing in video game development, happening even before alpha testing. It’s essentially the point where the game is barely recognizable as the final product. Here’s what pre-alpha testing is all about: Focus on core mechanics The main goal is to identify and fix critical issues with the core gameplay loop, like movement feeling unnatural or combat not functioning properly. Rapid iteration At this stage, things can change quickly. Mechanics might be tossed entirely or reworked based on testing results. Internal testing Primarily done by the development team itself. Programmers, designers, and QA testers might be involved in hammering out the foundation of the game. On some occasions, pre-alpha testing might become public, even though it’s not typical. Here’s a few reasons why: Community Building and Hype Generation Sometimes, developers strategically leak pre-alpha footage or allow a limited number of fans to participate in testing to build hype and excitement for the game early on. This can be a great way to generate buzz and get fans invested in the project. Feedback Gathering from a Wider Audience While internal testing is valuable, pre-alpha testing with a wider audience can expose developers to a more diverse range of player experiences and preferences. This can be particularly useful for online games where a large and varied player base is expected. Transparency and Early Collaboration Some developers choose transparency and involve the community early on in the development process. This allows for early feedback on core mechanics and design choices, potentially shaping the game in a way that resonates more with the target audience. Pre-Alpha Testing in RIFTSTORM RIFTSTORM is a game from Confiction Labs with Agate as the co-developer. This year, it has carried out 2 public pre-alpha tests. Overwhelmingly Positive Response The response to both pre-alpha tests was overwhelmingly positive. Over 5,000 players participated in the first test. Players dedicated an average of 1 hour and 39 minutes, but some players spent more than 50 hours in the intended 3-hour playtime for the pre-alpha build, demonstrating their deep engagement. The global reach was impressive, with players hailing from across the globe, with the top 7 countries including the US, Indonesia, Brazil, Russia, France, and Poland. Participation soared in the second pre-alpha test, reaching over 22,000 players and over 672,000 unique visitors who explored the game on Steam. A dedicated group of 165 players exceeded the intended 5-hour playtime, logging over 15 hours each. Players collectively poured in a staggering 22,032 hours of playtime, showcasing their enthusiasm for the game. The global reach expanded further, with players from a remarkable 110 unique countries participating. These pre-alpha tests provided valuable insights to the RIFTSTORM development team. Based on player feedback, the team meticulously balanced and adjusted buffs within the game. The positive reception for new character introductions during the tests demonstrates the effectiveness of public pre-alpha testing in shaping the game’s content. By involving the community early on, RIFTSTORM is well-positioned for a successful launch, offering a polished and engaging experience that players worldwide will enjoy. Game Development Process in Agate As a company that has been around for 15 years, Agate continues to improve its game development processes to be able to complete projects on time. In general, the game development process at Agate is carried

Story from Unreal Fest Gold Coast 2024

Agate returned from a fruitful trip to Unreal Fest Gold Coast 2024 in Australia. Hosted by Epic Games, this event provided valuable opportunities to learn from veteran developers and connect with the Australian game development scene, inspiring us to always improve our skills. The event offered various seminars led by Unreal Engine specialists and selected studio developers. These talks covered various aspects, from core functionalities to advanced techniques. Learning from the Australian Gaming Landscape The trip also provided insights into the Australian game development scene. While both Indonesia and Australia share similarities in their development landscape, the Australian industry possesses a clear advantage in terms of international connections. This is likely due to factors like shared language and a robust economic environment. We also observed that Australian developers, even small indie studios, displayed a high level of proficiency with the engine. This stands in contrast to Indonesia, where many developers haven’t yet fully embraced the potential of Unreal Engine or similar development tools. Community: A Key Ingredient for Success Our crew’s discussions with Epic Games representatives highlighted community as a cornerstone of a successful game development landscape. Here’s why a strong development community matters: Shared Knowledge and Expertise Game development is a complex field. A strong community provides a platform for developers to learn from each other, share best practices, and troubleshoot challenges. This collective knowledge base accelerates innovation and growth. Collaboration Opportunities Community fosters collaboration between studios. Studios can work together on projects, share resources, and even attract new talent. This collaborative spirit can lead to the creation of groundbreaking games. Motivation and Inspiration Being part of a thriving community provides developers with a sense of belonging and support. Seeing the success of other studios can be a powerful motivator and source of inspiration. A Commitment to Excellence Fueled by the inspiring Australian game development scene, Unreal Fest served as a powerful reminder of the importance of continuous learning, harnessing the full potential of Unreal Engine, and strong development communities. This commitment to excellence is reflected in our crew, achieving the prestigious Unreal Authorized Instructor. This certification signifies a deep understanding of Unreal Engine, which is still uncommon amongst Indonesian game developers. With this expertise, we push the boundaries of what’s possible and craft exceptional games for a global audience. Ready to take your IP to a new level? As one of Indonesia’s most experienced game companies, Agate offers a team of professional writers, designers, and developers who can help you create exceptional games across all game platforms. From concept development to execution, we’ll work with you to bring your vision to life. Don’t hesitate to contact us today to learn more about how we can help you take your project to exceptional heights!

The Power of Transmedia Storytelling

Audiences crave immersive experiences that extend far beyond the screen. They want to know more about the stories they love, connect with characters on a personal level, and feel like they’re truly part of a living universe. This is where transmedia storytelling comes in as one of the best strategies for expanding Intellectual Property (IP). Transmedia storytelling is the art of world-building across multiple platforms. It’s not just about shoving the same story onto every screen; it’s about creating unique content for each medium, adding layers of detail and complexity to the overall narrative. Video games, in particular, can provide the most immersive experience. Imagine a video game~~’s~~ plot that explores events outside the web series, revealing character backstories and enriching the overall narrative. This interconnectedness creates a richer, more engaging experience for players, fostering a sense of community and keeping them glued to the story. A straightforward example is the world of Star Wars and Harry Potter, which has expanded its lore through numerous games and other media, growing its fanbase across generations. How Transmedia Storytelling Can Benefit Your IP Deeper World-Building Expand your IP universe by introducing new characters, locations, and plotlines through other media. This expansion will create a sense of depth and realism. Enhanced Player Engagement Transmedia allows players to participate actively in the narrative. For example, social media campaigns can spark discussions, AR (Augmented Reality) experiences blur the line between reality and the game world, and mobile games offer ongoing challenges and rewards. Increased Brand Loyalty Offering a wider range of entry points into your story can attract a broader audience. Fans who might not have been interested in other media can still connect with the world through games, fostering a stronger overall brand identity. Challenges and Considerations Maintaining Narrative Consistency Ensuring all narrative threads weave together seamlessly across multiple platforms is crucial. Disjointed narratives or inconsistencies can confuse and disengage your audience. So, it requires meticulous planning and collaboration across your team to guarantee a cohesive experience. Resource Management Transmedia storytelling can be resource-intensive. Crafting compelling content for platforms like mobile or Virtual Reality (VR) apps requires an additional workforce. You will need writers, designers, and developers skilled in different media to bring your vision to life. Carefully assess your resources and consider strategic partnerships to ensure the quality of your transmedia experience. Audience Targeting Audience Targeting Not all audiences consume media in the same way. Tailoring content for specific platforms and demographics is essential. Understanding your target audience and media consumption habits is vital to crafting resonating transmedia experiences. Despite these challenges, the rewards of transmedia storytelling are vast. By carefully considering these points, you can navigate these hurdles and create a transmedia experience that captivates your audience. Crafting a Cohesive Transmedia Experience Transmedia storytelling offers a powerful tool to expand your IP and engage audiences on a deeper level. But how do you ensure your transmedia efforts come together effectively? Here are some key strategies: Worldbuilding Across Platforms Don’t just replicate your story across every platform. Each medium should offer unique content that expands the overall world. When your web series focuses on the main story, you can design a mobile game that offers side quests that explore the character’s backstory. Embrace the Strengths of the Platform While web series viewers can only ‘follow’ the story as the creators dictate, gamers can control their own pace in experiencing the narrative by exploring the environment and interacting with other characters before eventually embarking on the main quest to progress the story. By tailoring the content to leverage the platform’s strength, you can create memorable experiences for your audience. Create Transmedia Teasers and Reveals to Build Anticipation Plant subtle clues across platforms. Offer exclusive content reveals for specific platforms. This method builds anticipation and keeps your audience engaged. Agate Expertise in Crafting Amazing Stories and Exceptional Video Games Agate has years of experience creating unique and exciting stories. Memories: Your Story, Your Choice is a branching narrative mobile game reimagining classic fairytales. This focus on player choice and branching narratives demonstrates Agate’s ability to craft engaging stories. We also developed an original story for this game titled Celestia: Chain of Fate (CCF), one of the most widely-played popular stories. Due to its popularity, Celestia: Chain of Fate is being developed into a separate game for Nintendo Switch and Steam, with a demo currently available on Steam. Watch the trailer here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tJXh7mbAjo We also have the Valthirian Arc series, a testament to Agate’s dedication to world-building and captivating narratives over 15 years. Our newest game, Valthirian Arc 2: Hero School Story, combines the management and RPG genres, drawing visual inspiration from various world cultures. This game won an award in the Best Narrative category at PAX East. Watch the trailer here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4pqOzE8cNY We don’t limit ourselves to original creations. We’ve partnered with established IPs to bring fan-favorite characters to life in new ways. Our collaboration with Upin & Ipin resulted in Upin Ipin Demi Metromillenium for iOS. In this action-packed endless runner, players help Upin & Ipin protect Metromillenium City from the clutches of the villainous Dr. Sally and his Eggbot army. Collect coins to unlock new costumes and upgrade skills, all while conquering missions to save the city! Upin Ipin Demi Metromillenium gameplay We also expanded the Tahilalats IP by creating an exclusive theme featuring characters from the webcomic for our mobile game Pair Up, which is available on Android and iOS. Pair Up is a reimagining of the classic Onet game, where you connect matching pictures with a line that doesn’t bend more than three times. This collaboration allows Tahilalats fans to enjoy their favorite characters in a whole new way while experiencing the fun and challenge of Pair Up. Pair Up with Tahilalats theme Ready to take your IP to a new level? If you are looking for a partner to craft a captivating transmedia experience for your IP, co-development, art services, or game porting, look no further than Agate! As one

Beyond Blockbusters: The Growing Influence of Non-AAA Games

Thumbnails of Beyond Blockbusters: The Growing Influence of Non-AAA Games

In an industry dominated by blockbuster AAA titles, could the future of gaming lie in the hands of smaller, more innovative developers? As the gaming market soars toward a projected US$363.20 billion by 2027, non-AAA games are carving out a significant niche. Market insights from Statista indicating an annual growth rate of 8.76% between 2024 and 2027, hinting at vast opportunities for these emerging players. One indicator of this shift is the growth of indie games. According to Konvoy, citing a VG Insights report, indie games accounted for 31% of Steam’s revenue in 2023, up from 25% in 2018. This achievement is particularly notable considering the release of numerous high-quality AAA games in 2023, which traditionally held most gamers’ interest. What Draws Players to non-AAA Games From the outset, indie or non-AAA game developers have carved a distinct niche in the gaming landscape. Unlike their AAA counterparts, who often focus on established IPs through sequels and established formulas, non-AAA developers take a more creative and experimental approach. They prioritize: Unique Gameplay Mechanics: Non-AAA developers are fearless in breaking common practice and experimenting with innovative gameplay mechanics. These can range from fresh takes on existing genres to entirely new concepts that push the boundaries of interactivity. This focus on originality keeps gameplay engaging and avoids the feeling of repetitive experiences often associated with sequels. Compelling Narratives: While not every non-AAA game boasts a sprawling narrative, those that do often present unique and captivating stories. Unburdened by the pressure to cater to established franchises, non-AAA developers can explore diverse themes and storytelling techniques, resulting in fresh, impactful narratives that resonate with players. Artistic Innovation: Non-AAA developers often have more creative freedom regarding art style and visual design. This freedom can lead to visually stunning games that push the boundaries of what’s possible or offer unique aesthetics that wouldn’t be possible within the constraints of a major franchise. A report by Newzoo highlights a trend of overlapped players engaging with breakout titles featuring new IPs. This trend demonstrates gamers’ willingness to embrace “next big thing” titles. Notably, the Action RPG genre has emerged as a consistently popular choice among gamers, steadily increasing total playtime. The report also identifies the top 10 games with the highest Monthly Active Users (MAUs) in 2023. The results reveal that games offering diverse gameplay experiences are crucial to retaining gamer engagement. Agate’s Expertise in Indie and AA Game Development https://cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com/steam/apps/256980998/movie480_vp9.webm?t=1709114510 Regarding action games with unique gameplay, Agate is a co-developer of RIFTSTORM. RIFTSTORM is a Multiplayer Roguelite Shooter featuring, challenging dungeons, and high replayability for solo and up to 3-player co-op. RIFTSTORM has successfully completed two pre-alpha tests, receiving positive feedback from players. Explore Agate’s involvement in more detail here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqYrIkYTong Agate also boasts extensive experience crafting games that deliver varied experiences. In 2023, Agate joined as a Global Growth Development Partner of ZEPETO (Naver Z), a 3D avatar creation app and virtual world platform. Agate’s role in this partnership centers on enriching ZEPETO’s “World” content. We created BFF Signal, a game that revolved around the art of creating profiles, exploring others’ profiles, and discovering potential BFFs through engaging quizzes. See our involvement here. Choosing the Right Partner Agate brings this focus to the table as a development partner. We understand the importance of innovation and fresh ideas in indie and AA games. Creating exceptional games often requires a collaborative effort, leveraging the unique strengths of different teams. The gaming landscape is undergoing a transformation, with non-AAA games gaining increasing prominence. Their focus on innovation, fresh experiences, and diverse gameplay elements resonates with a growing segment of gamers. As an experienced game developer with a proven track record in indie and AA-scale game development, Agate is well-positioned to capitalize on this trend and deliver unique gaming experiences for a wider audience. From initial ideation to the final product, Agate offers collaborative opportunities for developers seeking to craft exceptional games together. The landscape for game development in Southeast Asia just got a significant boost with the Indonesian government’s recent issuance of Presidential Regulation (Perpres) No. 19 of 2024. This regulation signifies increased support for developers in the region and opens exciting new avenues for the industry’s growth. With 15 years of experience navigating the ever-evolving landscape of Southeast Asia, we’re perfectly positioned to be your partner in this exciting new chapter. Our deep understanding of the regional market allows us to help you tailor your game for maximum impact, reaching Indonesian players and the wider Southeast Asian audience. Do you want to bring your ideas or existing IP into a fully developed video game? Look no further than Agate! Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today and learn more about how we can help you take your project to exceptional heights.

Ready for Lift-Off: Vertx Break Aims for Global Opportunities in 2024

“Throughout 2023, we restructured our internal team, devised innovative internal training plans, and development systems. Now, Vertx Break, is ready for global projects in 2024.” – Ar Cahyadi Indra, Head of Vertx Break powered by Agate ————————— Last month, Agate was thrilled to introduce Vertx Break, Agate’s new sub-brand focusing on offering game-ready 3D Stylized Art for AA Game Developers. This time, we’d like to delve deeper into the dynamics of art services development at Agate over the past year and our targets for 2024 from the perspective of Ar Cahyadi Indra, Head of Vertx Break powered by Agate. About Ar Cahyadi Indra Adi, as he usually called by his teammates, graduated with a degree in Computer Engineering from Universitas Indonesia. His passion for technology and game development continued to thrive, leading him to embark on a career at Agate. His journey at Agate began in 2015 as a Jr. Game Programmer, swiftly climbing the ranks to become a Game Programmer within a year. During his tenure, Adi played a pivotal role in project development, notably contributing to the creation one of Agate’s flagship games at the time, Metal Brave Arena 76, an action-packed solo gaming experience where players construct powerful robots to conquer galactic battles. In his capacity, Adi’s involvement encompassed various facets of game development, including game design, logic, rendering optimization, the integration of key game systems, and the implementation of technical art solutions. The User Interface of Metal Brave Arena 76 Recognizing Adi’s proficiency in technical art and leadership skills, Agate promoted him to Head of the Art Department in 2021. In this role, Adi was tasked with building the Art Department from scratch, including recruitment processes, devising growth plans for team members, and financial planning. Additionally, Adi actively represented Agate at numerous events, providing valuable insights into the gaming industry. By the end of 2022, as Agate expanded into new business areas such as art services, Adi’s impressive track record and skills prompted Agate to name him as the Head of Vertx Break powered by Agate. As he moved into this new position in early 2023, Adi worked hard to adapt and ensure optimal productivity for Agate and its partners. Now, he is here to share his reflection on 2023 and outline ambitious goals for Vertx Break in 2024. Q: Could you tell us the excitement and highlights of 2023? A: 2023 was certainly transformative for me as the Head of Art division, necessitating continuous learning and innovation. Throughout the year, we focused on restructuring our team to align with the art services business. By adopting modern pipelines and flexibility, we successfully managed diverse A-AA projects, ensuring that our services met our clients’ visions and industry standards. Q: Could you tell us about some exciting projects you worked on in 2023? A: Our team internally developed the concept to create stylized buildings using only real-life photos as references. We preserved iconic silhouettes and key elements, ensuring seamless alignment with the project’s stylized art direction. Despite challenges, the Vertx Break team’s collective efforts and ingenuity led to successful project completion! Q: Could you tell us about your thoughts after the unveiling of Vertx Break powered by Agate last month? A: Following the introduction of Vertx Break last month, I feel incredibly proud and excited about the direction we’re heading in 2024. Vertx Break, our latest sub-brand, is dedicated to providing top-tier, game-ready 3D Stylized Art specifically designed for AA game developers. This launch underscores Agate’s position as a trusted global game development partner, committed to seizing opportunities in the global market. Our team is ready and equipped to collaborate closely with clients, helping them bring their artistic visions to life with optimized assets. Furthermore, Vertx Break elevates Agate’s internal art standards, facilitates knowledge sharing, and fosters collaboration with art teams in diverse business segments. Vertx Break’s role extends beyond our efforts to seek opportunities in the global market. We believe that Vertx Break will play a crucial role in Agate’s continued commitment to nurturing the Indonesian gaming industry’s ecosystem, as Agate has done over the past (nearly) 15 years. Q: As we move forward into 2024, what are your hopes and goals for this year? A: We hope the Vertx Break team will make significant contributions to exciting projects and play a key role in advancing 3D art in Indonesia’s gaming industry. We are also set to introduce innovative strategies in our training and internal growth systems, aimed to refine and elevate our team’s technical abilities. This initiative is designed to keep us at the forefront of competitiveness and to ensure we bring additional value to our partner’s projects. Eager to develop amazing 3D Stylized Art for your unforgetable stories? Craft together with Vertx Break powered by Agate

Fueling Progress: Agate Confident in Leading Gamification Services in Indonesia

”With continuous framework development, market education, and internal improvement, we aim to lead gamification services in Indonesia in 2024”. – Junialdi Dwijaputra, Head of the Level Up powered by Agate.————————— January marks a period of exciting possibilities for leaders at Agate. Engaging in thorough meetings, our leaders assess the previous year’s achievements and strategically plan objectives for the upcoming year — among them is Junialdi Dwijaputra, Head of Level Up powered by Agate, who has recently been immersed in this strategic planning phase. About Junialdi A lifelong learner, who is usually called Jun by his teammates, began his professional journey with a degree in geophysical engineering in the mining field before transitioning into the technology and subsequently, the gaming industry. Jun starts his role as product manager at Agate, specifically within the gamification division. His duties encompassed designing the product roadmap, identifying and understanding the challenges faced by prospective users, and maintaining ongoing coordination with the game development team. One of the standout projects he managed is Batique, Indonesia’s First Game Designed for Child Uniqueness Assessment. Far from being merely a “game,” Batique’s assessment questions adhere to standards validated by the Department of Psychology at Universitas Gadjah Mada. Batique revolutionized the perception of assessments from a mundane task to an engaging activity, making it easier for children who were hesitant to engage with psychologists to have a novel assessment experience. During his tenure as product manager, Jun has shown remarkable resilience, diligence, an intense desire to learn, and superior quality, culminating in his appointment as the Head of Level Up powered by Agate. Junialdi is here to present the accomplishments of 2023 and establish the expectations for 2024. Q: Could you tell us the excitement and highlights of 2023? A: 2023 was full of lessons, opportunities, and achievements. Our primary objective during this period was to revitalize the gamification division. Throughout the year, we embraced the challenge of supporting seven partners from diverse industries, each with unique backgrounds. This required us to stay constantly updated with the evolving business landscapes of these sectors. Q: Could you tell us about some exciting projects you worked on in 2023? A: Well, actually, we worked on several interesting projects in 2023, but I’ll tell you about the two projects that left the most significant impression on me. Junialdi Dwijaputra, Head of the Level Up powered by Agate at the Tech in Asia Conference 2023 First, we rebranded our gamification services with the new title, ‘Level Up Your Business,’ to demonstrate our commitment to providing innovative business solutions through gamification while focusing on global partnerships. Our goal is to enhance business performance using gamification. The User Interface of Eraversary Pop Quiz Another remarkable project was developing the Eraversary Pop Quiz game for the 27th Anniversary celebration of Erajaya Group. This project left a lasting impression as the game we created had a significant impact on the success of the partner’s event. When our Pop Quiz was integrated into Erajaya’s platform named Eraspace, we successfully boosted user traffic by over 50%. As a result, our partner gave us a project satisfaction rating of 8/10. Kudos to all the members of the Level Up powered by Agate team who were involved! Q: As we move forward into 2024, what are your hopes and goals for this year? We are highly optimistic that in 2024, we can take the lead in the gamification service industry in Indonesia. This achievement will be realized through the implementation of a research-backed Level Up Framework and market education via the ‘Level Up Your Business’ webinar series. Additionally, we will strengthen strategic partnerships and continuously improve internally for optimal efficiency and value delivery. Ready to take your business to new heights with Agate? Contact us now for exclusive details!.